Category Archives: Guest Posts

guest post: enjoy + experience your youth

Can I get a T-G-I-F?!?! Thank you to the lovely Jazmine for sharing today. Find Jazmine on Twitter at @ll_cool_jaz_ and check out her blog at ladyblahblahblog.wordpress.com!

Growing up, my mother always dispensed exceptional advice… that I never took. She would tell me which boys to avoid, what classes to take, and how dress for each and every occasion. Amongst her wise words and cautionary tales, the best piece of advice was; “enjoy and experience your youth.” (It’s the mom-approved version of “YOLO.”) In a rush to grow up, I resisted this notion until a couple of years ago, and I wish I had been less stubborn. But I’m not going to tell her that, I’m going to tell you; enjoy and experience being young.

Youth gives us unbridled opportunity, a grace period for trial-and-error, and the privilege to be a little selfish. Besides the added benefit of a wrinkle-free face, here are some reasons being young is a blessing!

1. Experimentation

I’m not (necessarily) talking about that kind of experimentation.

“To be old and wise, you must be young and stupid.” When we are young, we have to learn from our mistakes, over and over (and over) again. With no biological clock ticking, we can date the wrong guys, choose the wrong job, the wrong friends, the wrong exit, and still have time to fix our mistakes and learn invaluable lessons. Ultimately, we can change our minds and major until we “get it right.”

2. Travel

Notice this; you’ve never heard someone say, “Man, I wish I had never traveled the world and learned about other cultures.” And it’s not a coincidence. When we’re ripe, we are impressionable and typically more open-minded. Why not utilize that, and do as the Romans do.

I have been privileged enough to experience the beauty of Europe and culture of South America. And while, I doubt I will be applying for dual citizenship, I have a priceless appreciation for other cultures as well as my own. Plus, any excuse to eat new cuisine and shop… is a good excuse.

3. Free thinking

Along with bad antiques, costume jewelry and a timeshare in Florida, we can sometimes inherit past generations’ ways of thinking.  Fortunately, things are a little different, and the ongoing progression of civil rights has allowed us and encouraged us to think past our grandparents’ dated ideals, and form our own opinions of the world. I can’t imagine living in the ignorance of yesterday, but I am happy and most of all hopeful, that the new generation can come together and make a better tomorrow for everyone.  We have the freedom of changing the world and the way people see it.

 4.Being (a little) selfish

Whether we like to admit it or not, being young gives us the luxury to be selfish. My decision on where I take a job, take a vacation or to even take out the trash solely affects me. With no parents to please, no children to take care of, no husband to tend to, the only permission I seek, the only approval I need, is my own. Though amazing and liberating, it has an expiration date, and I intend on milking it (read: buying tickets to the “Made In America” concert, and planning a spontaneous trip to Philly because I deserve it) for all its worth.

With little responsibility, there’s endless possibilies.


Advertisements

25 Things From My Twenties That I’m Thankful For

I’m back in the Midwest this weekend in Pittsburgh. I’m SO so excited to spend time with the lovely queen Paige and have a short and sweet visit with my parents and sisters. Christina is back to share {remember her Thursday Thankful List post last week?} more things she’s thankful for. 

Don’t forget to check out her 40:20 Vision site!
Enjoy your positive Thursday!

  1. That I moved to a new city with no friends – all my old friends visited me and I made a lot of new friends.
  2. Jobs perks …when I had the time to actually enjoy them.
  3. Traveling cheaply
  4. True friends…to remind you how amazing you are.
  5. Crazy friends …to make you go new places.
  6. That one “bad” friend – to make you appreciate your other friends
  7. Rainy days and movie marathons
  8. Roommates
  9. Roommates with cars
  10. Get up and go days
  11. A get up and go faceJ
  12.  “Friending” my mom and dad – the old fashioned way
  13. A back yard perfect for BBQs
  14. Street fairs
  15. Playing fair
  16. Long hair
  17. Cut-off shorts
  18. Hours on the beach
  19. SPF
  20. Mental days
  21. Off Broadway plays
  22. Lazy Sundays
  23. Seeing the sunrise
  24. Seeing everything with fresh eyes
  25. Exercise

 

Guest Post: Five Things From My Twenties That I’m Thankful For

I l-o-v-e Christina’s website/blog 40:20 Vision, where she shares advice aimed at 20-somethings from 40-somethings. There’s something so wonderful about receiving advice from people who have been in similar situations and experiences as you have! I’m SO thrilled she is willing to share while I’m traveling and her post today is an extra-special Thursday Thankful List. She’s sharing five “bad” or difficult things that happened in her twenties that she is thankful for. What a fantastic way to look at our current worries. 

Thanks Christina! Enjoy! 

1. Moving across the country for a relationship that didn’t work

When my boyfriend got transferred to California at about the same time I was getting bored with my first job and itching for a career switch, I agreed to move with him. I decided to let go of my fear of not being able to get another job with visions of tennis, Lake Tahoe and wine country in my head.

One year later, I moved back to New York, one “failed relationship” richer and a marketing director title under my belt.  I had quit a job, gotten a job and came back to find another job complete with more money and a new direction. So many people said upon my return, “ so sorry it didn’t work out (e.g. you didn’t marry this man you moved for)…and I just had to smile. I wasn’t. I had an adventure and found the confidence to know I can get another job!  Plus I discovered my love affair was really with New York. I learned a lot from that guy and from living in Cali….but neither held the excitement of NYC.

2. Getting “laid-off”

Well, I’d say it was more fired but I still got a good reference and great experience. But it taught me that a job is as much about relationships as it is about the quality of your work. I naively came swooshing in from my big ad agency job in New York City to a male-centric organization in a slow moving industry. I thought it would be a good idea to update the creative process with the ad agency. It did yield better work but it rubbed the agency head the wrong way…and he just happened to have a long time relationship and golf habit with my CEO. They just wanted someone to keep things moving, not someone to move things forward. When moving a company forward you have to check in to see if everyone else is along for the ride.

3. That my only friend in NYC moved back to Chicago the week I moved to the city   

It forced me to make new friends, to look up friends of friends and reach out to relative strangers. Moving to a new city with no friends to rely on gives you a head start on networking.

4. That I had lots of bad dates.

I still think bad dates make good stories. Plus, it gives you a lot more perspective on what a good date is.

5. That I was underpaid.

I got pursued by another company and got an offer for almost 50% more than what I was making. Then I got a counteroffer from my own company. Damn. I felt pretty stupid for not having been asking for more and better raises. So that part is not what I am grateful for per se. But what I am grateful for is that it taught me to ask big. Women tend to undervalue themselves so at least it got me over that bad habit!

 

guest post: true mane

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been obsessed with Leigh’s work for over two years {remember this post?}; she has an artistic talent that is like no other. She’s here to share about her favorite hair products – and I definitely think you’ll enjoy her recommendations! Thank you Leigh! xo

Hello Everyone!! Leigh here from Create. I am honored that Andi is having me why she is enjoying a wonderful trip to Paris!! Hope you have a magical time Andi !

Today’s post was actually inspired by a friend of mine that I have worked with a few times, Luccia Cafero and just adore, along with her amazing hair!! (Major hair envy!) She recently did a photoshoot with Christos Sewell called “Mane Attraction” ~ It’s all about emphasizing real natural hair with harmless beauty products. Hair is sometimes over looked and should never be underestimated.” Luccia.

Well I am just in awe that hair could be that amazing, so she must know what she is talking about. I on the other hand have a head of hair that is in recovery from years of coloring, flat irons and hot blow dryers where she let her hair just be (it is a hard thing) as this past year I have been really working on doing just that, letting it air dry more, growing out my color and giving it back the life it needs to be to be healthy again. The in between growing out and all that can be hard on confidence as I can say no matter how well I feel or how amazing an outfit can be, if I am having a bad hair day, it pretty much takes over.

But to share all of my favorite products that have helped me along the way made it less painful are below.

To start, I switch back and forth between Purology Hydrate for color treated hair and Redkin Color Extend for the basic washing, but like Luccia as far as after products go, I have found that leaving less in my hair while it air dries is the trick. I only use about 5 drops of Redkin’s Argan oil to keep the strands smooth but not sticky.

Also the best lesson learned is only washing my hair a few times a week to bring back the natural oils that my scalp produces.

But not always do I let it air dry so to protect it from the flat and thanks to my fabulous hair dresser Robyn for introducing to my hair, Chi 44 Iron Guard which helps with a layer of protection between my hair and the heat.

What about you, what are your tried and true products and habits to keep your hair healthy, your lessons learned with your hair and are you like me a person that has fought the natural given hair that you were born with?

Thank you Andi for having me and cannot wait to hear about your trip!! xo

guest post: this is your life, nobody else's

Say hello to the Melissa – someone I’ve had the opportunity to become good friends with through the wonderful world of Twitter and blogging. Remember her from this honest and inspiring post? She’s here to share again while I’m traveling. Enjoy her post; I know I did! –Hi queens! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to post again here on Polish My Crown. I can’t say enough great things about Andi – she is truly a ray of sunshine each and every day. I’m honored that she’s asked me to post while she’s out enjoying her travels (I’m green with envy!) 
So I’m just jumping right in here, but I hope that at least some of you can relate!
The more I look at my own life, the more I realize I often don’t consider myself a priority. What do I mean by that? Well… it’s a little complicated to explain. But the first thing that comes to mind is standing up for myself in situations where I really should. In situations that I feel uncomfortable, I don’t always speak my mind (though I’m quick to jump the gun over little things in my day to day life) – and it causes me stress. Not every day, but most. But I don’t feel comfortable speaking up… so what do I do?

So that’s the first step – deciding to make a change. Realizing that this is your life, nobody else’s. That it’s your choice, your decision, your move to make. Recognizing that you control your happiness, and that if you won’t make a change, nobody else can do it for you. While that recognition is scary, it’s also so empowering. To realize that you control your life and you can change things you’re unhappy with. Sure, it will probably be scary… but think about all the wonderful things that you will feel if you make a positive change for yourself and take a risk. 

I need to take my own advice, though. I can admit, while I say that it’s empowering, I stray towards the side of being scared, being too afraid to take that risk and make a big change in my life. I think that being comfortable is great – but being comfortable and unhappy isn’t great. I’m taking baby steps at taking my own advice and making a change, but I have to ask – is anyone else struggling with the same thing? Realizing that your life is your own and that if you want to make a change, you may need to take a risk?
I’d love to hear more about it, so feel free to come by and say hi. – see below!
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

guest post: never settle for anything less than your dreams

Caitlin is one of my most special friends; I’ve known her since age 14 or 15 and our friendship has only grown stronger and better as we’ve gotten older. I always feel weird saying I “look up” to people my own age, but that’s exactly how I feel about Cait. She always carries herself with such poise and grace and has bent over backwards to make my life easier and happier. I am always looking forward to our next reunions – and couldn’t help but share a hilarious photo of us from high school!

Andi and Cait in 2004

Enjoy her post today – and thank you Cait for sharing! xo

Hello fellow queens!…and as my mother likes to say, three C.H.E.E.R.S for F.R.I.D.A.Y ! !

Andi, oh so kindly asked me to guest post today..and well, while I’m overly thrilled about this opportunity to share a story with you all, I’m also a tad nervous. You see, I am the furthest thing from a writer, a creative mind, or blogger. I am your typical analytical, “You must start at point A before you get to point B”, blog- viewer-only, direct and straight to the point kind of gal. Of course, with a lot of humor and goofy antics inserted throughout. So with that said, here goes nothing!

Miss Andi and I met our freshman year of high school. Our laughter, spunk, and just plain goofiness brought us together instantly, and the rest is well…history. There was one particular trait or “thing” that Andi and I have always shared, understood each other on, thrived on, and supported one another on…and that’s goal setting and following our dreams.

Goals: I knew from the time I was in middle school, I wanted one thing and one thing only when I grew up. That one thing was to work in the fashion industry ( yes, many young girls have this same desire). During my time in college, I had the opportunity to study in New York City for a year, as a part of a visiting student program. Now, because most of you do not know me personally…let me just say, when I found out this was a possibility..things got REAL serious, FAST! There was no way I wasn’t jumping on this opportunity as soon as I possibly could.

Fast Forward: to my junior year of college. It was time to apply. This was the moment I had been waiting. I filled out all the paper work, collected more letters of recommendation that I ever wanted to, and spent countless hours perfecting my essay…which for me, took months. I sent everything in three weeks early and now it was time to wait…….and wait……and wait to find out if I had been accepted. The Fashion Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious institutions to study fashion design and the business of fashion. They only accept 20 visiting students every semester and the program is very competitive.

Disappointment: I can remember the day I drove home from class, opened up the mailbox, and found my rejection letter, yes, rejection letter. I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated beyond belief and felt like all of my hard work, effort, drive, and dedication had been hit by a semi-truck, kicked in the stomach, and then stomped on 100 times over. I spent the next two weeks mourning my rejection and for the most part feeling embarrassed about my failure. It wasn’t until one rainy afternoon, while I was sitting in class that I realized I wasn’t going to settle. I wasn’t going to give up. I knew I deserved this opportunity and I had worked hard for it. In that very same day, I scrambled to re-fill everything out, spent the entire evening through the night re-writing my essay from scratch, and gathering all I needed to re-submit my application packet for the next semester. There was only one minor detail…..I decided not to tell a single person I was re-applying accept for my mother.

Birthday Present: September 28, 2009. My mom & step- dad’s birthday. (yes, they share the same birthday, cute- right?) I met them for dinner after one of my classes to celebrate their day. I sat down and noticed my mom just had this glowing smile that was hard not to notice. She lifted up onto the table a huge white envelope that said “Congratulations” written across the front. From that point on I knew, I had been accepted. It was by far the most rewarding day of my life. I won the fight on not settling and it finally paid off.

Today: Looking back now, almost two years later, New York was by far one of the most fantastic experiences I have had to date. I accomplished, learned, and experienced so many amazing things. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without following my dreams, following through with my goals, and never settling for anything less than whats desired.

A huge thank you to the queen of all queens herself, Miss Teggart, for providing an outlet for people to gather such positive inspiration and hope through her blog. Most of all, thank you for pushing me 110% out of my comfort zone to guest post today!

Cait and Andi in 2012

guest post: what I learned traveling to and living in France

Helllllo! I’m currently somewhere in the air between San Francisco and Paris and so excited to have Catherine kickoff this week of guest blog posts. You might remember her from here and here– she’s kind of a regular around here! Catherine is actually moving back to France in a few weeks and I hope you enjoy her French tidbits below as much as I do. xo!

As someone on the verge of moving to the Rhône-Alpes region for a seven-month language assistantship, I cannot help but reflect on my first trip to France in 2009. A college freshmen still adjusting to university life, I opted out of spring quarter for a three-month language and culture immersion program in Avignon. I’d traveled to Europe and China with student tour groups, but my studies abroad were the first time I actually lived in a foreign land. A wanderlust-stricken journalism and French student, my experiences in France only enhanced my desire to sharpen my language skills in hopes of working overseas one day.

As Andi is undoubtedly having a fabulous time in the City of Lights and Love, I’m thrilled to share tidbits of French style de vie gained from my spring in Provence!

1. Coffee is très petit. In my over-caffeinated opinion, too small. Oh mon Dieu. When I ordered my first cup, I was shocked to receive a mere espresso shot over my usual XL Red Eye. European coffee is excellent, mind you, and also very strong, but even as a seasoned black coffee drinker, I had to add a little sucre or lait on occasion. Tip: Order a café allongé (“long coffee”) if you’re missing a standard American cup o’ joe. Don’t expect to get your order to go, unless you’re ordering from the local MacDo.

2. Parlez-vous anglais? Most French are a far cry from the snooty traveler despisers portrayed on television. The key to charming the Français is attempting to speak French, even if all you can utter is “Bonjour” and “Merci.” Don’t get discouraged. They don’t expect you to be fluent. A little effort, a smile, and a few basic phrases go a long way.

3. Be flexible. Unlike presumed rudeness, I found the French lassiez-faire attitude to be a refreshingly true stereotype. French are very laid-back people who like to savor and enjoy life, leisurely soaking in the beauty of each moment. Expect schedule changes and plan to be “fashionably late.” Aside from public transportation, which normally runs like clockwork, being on time may be an extreme faux pas.

4. Bottled water is cheap, and wine is like water. Someone please explain how we pay over a dollar for one 16-oz. bottle of water in The States. Try 1 Euro wine on for size. Bottled water, usually sold in sizes equivalent to a U.S. liter for .25, is a staple for on-the-go travelers. Wine is paired with dinner, and often lunch, as vin is treated like an essential accessory to the meal. If you’re not already a wino, France will do it to you.

5. It’s prettier than the pictures. Unexplainable, but a picture cannot fully capture the beauty of this, or any, place.

6. The cuisine lives up to the hype. Prepare your taste buds and your wallets, because you’re going to want to savor each morsel of what the gastronomique capital of the world has to serve up. When in France, be adventurous in your eating. Escargot? Pourquoi pas? Save room for dessert. Pastel-colored macarons and budget-friendly staples like gelato and Nutella and banana-filled crepes are worth the splurge!

7. The French have flair. It’s no wonder perfume and fashion’s haute couture originated in Paris. An indiscernible “je ne sais quoi” appears in each aspect of the culture. The French are like everyday artists, adding stylish twists to monotonous daily tasks like the a.m. commute. Parisians zooming down the boulevard atop a vintage bike while stylishly sporting scarf and trench: a regular sight. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with black. France street style: black, black, and more black. Chic and sleek.

8. There is so much more to France than Paris. Paris may be my favorite city I’ve traveled to, but the rest of the country has much to offer! From castles to vineyards, to beaches and mountains, France is a versatile land. Travel off the beaten path to discover la France profonde (“deep France”).

9. Deep down, we’re the same. Whether in France, Australia, Asia, or Africa, embrace your surroundings – the people, the land, and the culture – recognizing, respecting, and learning from said differences. Upside: you’ll find common ground in the most unlikely locations no matter how “lost in translation” you feel. Just smile, be positive, and go!

10. Expect to want to return. Once the travel bug has bitten you, don’t be surprised if you’re booking a return flight or find yourself anxious to discover a new overseas venue.

Thanks for reading. I cannot wait to enjoy Andi’s Paris review!

XX Bisous
Catherine